Basim, Tyson, Betty and Ted | Sean Crawley

What makes us human? Ask the passengers in carriage three.

Basim, Tyson, Betty and Ted

By Sean Crawley

For the What We Talk About When We Talk About Love Award


Everyone wants to know what happened in carriage three that day. The hullabaloo surrounding the events of carriages one, two and four has died down. Now the attention has turned to us lot, that mob of free loving peaceniks they call us. They can call us whatever they like, we don’t care, we’ve all become best friends, some of us even lovers.

They’re calling us all in to meet with the experts. They want to work out why the humans on carriage three, didn’t degenerate into panic, violence and hatred like the others. I mean the Public Address system told the whole train that the issue would be fixed as soon as possible. And the air-conditioning and water-bubblers kept working the whole time. So I don’t wonder about us, I’m more worried about all the mayhem that erupted in them other carriages.

I still can’t get my head around that rape on carriage one and the three other assaults. Some commuters are still in hospital, and some are in psych wards for goodness sake. It’s too easy to say that human nature showed it’s true colours that day, and us lot in carriage three are posing bit of a problem for that view of humanity. I’ve given it a heap of thought and I’m going to tell them experts. I ran it by Trudie and she reckons I’ve nailed it.

When the train came to an unexpected halt that day, Tina, all four foot ten of her, jumped up and started shushing everyone. She was pointing to young Basim asleep in his mother’s arms. Tina and Fadila, Basim’s mum, have become best friends. Fadila is helping Tina with her English skills.

None of us disputed the need to keep quiet, so we whispered about our transport dilemma. Basim did wake later, his smile and his wanting to feed us all rice crackers was way cute. Now, there was a collective desire to keep the young fella from fear, and I’m sure that was a factor, but that initial agreement to keep our voices down was crucial. It’s my point number one. I’ll tell them experts.

“There was a sleeping toddler, so we all kept our voices down.”

About fifteen minutes later, Enzo had to change Tyson’s colostomy bag. Tyson was only nineteen when a police car hit his push-bike. His future as a professional tri-athlete was smashed along with his C5 vertebrae. Confined to a wheel chair and needing the help of others for life, we were all humbled down big time when Tyson told us, “It was the best thing that ever happened to me, I was totally up myself before the accident.”

Tyson has one of those real contagious laughs that got us able-bodied folk joining in and forgetting our woes. Some of us would be late for stuff; Roger had a job interview and Robyn was meeting her daughter at the airport. And Gwyneth’s claustrophobia was playing up, but Tyson’s great attitude kept it all in perspective, let me tell you. And that’s my point number two. I’ll tell them.

“Nothing like a quadriplegic in the midst to keep things real.”

The love and care shown by Enzo touched our hearts, and it got us wondering if we’d give up a high paid job to be a disability worker, like he did. I really believe now that we all have the capacity to help others. Enzo said it was the best job he’d ever had, and we didn’t doubt him for a second.

Ted and Betty were holding hands and all dressed up. They were going out to lunch at a fancy restaurant in town. We all thought they must’ve been married for decades. Turns out they met just six months ago in the retirement village.

“I’ve been married twice before,” Betty said. “One was a mongrel bastard and the other carked it with cancer, but Ted is the love of my life. Imagine that, ninety three and meeting your true soul mate.”

Tyson laughed and Basim gave Betty a rice cracker and a hug. I’d been checking Trudi out since she got on at Redfern, but had been too scared to talk to her. By now though, I’d lost all fear and I went straight over and introduced myself. We’ve been together everyday since. And that’s my point number three. I am going to tell them experts.

“Love is possible at any age and at any time. Hang in because you never know what’s around the corner, or when your train will get stuck in a tunnel.”

They better let us go then, because we’re all going out to lunch to celebrate Ted and Betty’s one year anniversary and Tina getting into uni. That’s why I’m all dressed up.

One thought on “Basim, Tyson, Betty and Ted | Sean Crawley

  1. yours is my favourite so far. I loved it enough to actually send it on to friends, something i never bother doing.
    A couple of typo’s tho, be careful of them, cos they’re always off-putting to a reader. Not that i should preach…

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